A new book timed for the 50th anniversary of John F. Kennedy’s assassination in Dallas on Nov. 22, 1963, reveals that four doctors and two medical students among the first to see the former president believe that a hole below JFK’s Adam’s apple came from a shot fired in front of his car, a second-shooter theory dismissed by the controversial Warren Commission.
While the Commission said gunman Lee Harvey Oswald took all the shots from a building behind the president, riding in an open convertible through Dealey Plaza, the new book written about the medical professionals caring for Kennedy at Parkland Memorial Hospital bolsters a 1979 House report that JFK died in a conspiracy.
“We Were There,” compiled the recollections of the doctors and medical students at Parkland the day Kennedy arrived. It is written by Dr. Allen Childs, who was also at Parkland, but didn't operate on the president. The recollections are from oral histories, interviews and letters.
“They were unanimous that the neck wound was an entry wound,” wrote Childs in the book provided to Secrets in advance of its Nov. 6 release.
Even more startling: One of the doctors, Ron Jones, said that assassination investigators knew of reports of a second shooter but ignored them. He’s quoted being told by Warren Commission investigator Arlen Specter, who went on to be a Pennsylvania senator, “We have people who would testify that they saw somebody shoot the president from the front. But we don’t want to interview them, and I don’t want you saying anything about that either.”
Confusing the issue at the time was how the emergency room doctors tried to help JFK catch his breath. Sometimes a hole is punched in the neck of patients and an air tube inserted. In his case, they used the bullet hole for the tube. What’s more, instead of having the autopsy done in Dallas and with the initial doctors close by to quiz, JFK’s body was flown to Washington for the secretive procedure.
To clear up the issue, Childs collected interviews with those who saw the wound before the tracheotomy. Dr. Jim Carrico, a medical student, was the first to see JFK. He reported a “small wound of the anterior neck in the lower one third.” Surgeon Charles Baxter, after describing JFK’s fatal head wound, said, “the only other wound was in his neck.” And Dr. Joe D. Goldstrich said, “the appearance of the neck wound is burned into my memory. It was a perfectly round hole between nickel and quarter size, in the middle of the front of the neck, just below the Adam’s apple.”Paul Bedard, The Washington Examiner's "Washington Secrets" columnist, can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.